The United States says it plans to focus on Iran's nuclear program in
upcoming talks with Tehran, despite Iran's refusal to discuss the
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says Iran has a responsibility to
walk away from what he described as its "illicit nuclear weapons
program." He says that is what the U.S. goal will be in negotiations
On Friday, the United States and other world powers accepted Iran's new
offer to hold talks, even though Tehran said it will not negotiate on
its nuclear program.
Iranian officials say they are pleased the U.S. and other world powers
accepted the offer. But Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says
Iran will not compromise on its "inalienable right."
Meanwhile, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor says "the clock is
ticking" for getting Iran to halt nuclear projects with bomb-making
In an exclusive interview with the Reuters news agency, Meridor said,
however, a combination of tough political and economic action may get
Iran to listen to reason. He said he does not think Iranian leaders are
Israel says a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to its existence and
has not ruled out a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be
"wiped off the map."
On Wednesday, Iran presented new proposals for talks to representatives
of six world powers and the European Union. The U.S. State Department
said the proposals were "disappointing" for bypassing Iran's nuclear
program, but that they represented a chance for serious talks.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran
for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can be used
to make nuclear weapons, or fuel for nuclear reactors.
The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of working to
produce a nuclear weapon. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful
purposes -- mainly to develop energy.